Cape Town - Gift of the Givers (GOTG) founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, has called on African nations to support South Africa’s “herculean battle” against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Since South Africa launched a lawsuit under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention), there has been global praise for the move.
The application relates to the bombardment of, and treatment of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel.
In a statement released on Tuesday Sooliman said: “The African Union (AU) should be at the forefront, supporting South Africa's principled stand at the ICJ, both as a collective but importantly as individual nation states.”
“We call on the one billion-strong Africans (this is a geographical concept that embraces all races and colours) on our continent to impress on their governments to take the bold, just and correct decision to stand on the right side of history, openly and vociferously, supporting South Africa at the ICJ, for tomorrow we could end up being bullied the way the Palestinians have been subjugated for 75 years whilst the world looked the other way,” Sooliman said.
“Stand up boldly for an African initiative at the ICJ. This is a proud moment where Africa leads the way against genocide, ethnic cleansing, injustice, oppression, collective punishment, war crimes, crimes against humanity and Western arrogance.”
At a vigil held for GOTG Gaza Office Head, Ahmed Abbasi, who was killed alongside his brother Dr Mustapha through a suspected targeted attack by the IDF in November, Sooliman had called on more countries to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) after South Africa had taken the bold step.
Another GOTG staff member Ayah Jaber had around 100 of her family members killed by the IDF. In December, the organisation was engaging with lawyers in order to lay war crimes charges against Israel.
On Saturday, Sooliman will join fellow speakers Noncedo Madubedube, Dr Allan Boesak and Koni Benson for a “Global Day of Action for Palestine”, from 2pm at Mandela Glasses, Sea Point.
A Change.org petition to the ICJ, started on December 30, has garnered nearly 250000 signatures in support of the case.
In less than a week, over 800 organisations have signed a letter of support issued on January 3, by the International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine (ICSGP), with the coalition calling for global mobilisation ahead of the hearings as well as for signatories to place pressure on their governments to immediately file a Declaration of Intervention in support of the case.
Meanwhile, a group of South African Christian leaders said it opposed the country’s decision and demanded that it be rescinded immediately.
“We, as Christians deplore the loss of innocent lives, be it Jews, Palestinians, Christians or any other people but are strongly opposed to the decision,” read the statement.
Speaking on behalf of the ChristianView Network, a signatory organisation, Director Philip Rosenthal said: “The group statement does not call for a ceasefire, nor does it endorse everything Israel does.”
Later today, the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association, Bo-Kaap Palestine Action Group, and the ANC Cape Town Constituency Office, will host an interfaith prayer service for the success of the case, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm in front of the Bo-Kaap Museum, in Wale Street, Bo-Kaap.
To express support for South Africa’s legal team and the case, many are expected to gather at the Cape Town High Court from 8:30am to 9:30am ahead of the hearing.
Public hearings will be held at the Peace Palace, in the Hague, Netherlands, where the seat of the court is situated, on Thursday, January 11 from 10am to 12pm and will see South Africa presenting its oral argument, followed by Israel on Friday, January 12, from 10am-12pm.